Reaching out to everyone in the National Grid workforce - wherever they are
The story so far
An international electricity and gas company based in the UK and Northeastern US, with around 20,000 employees, National Grid connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. National Grid has approximately 6,500 staff in the UK, of which 3,000 are based in Warwick. The rest of the workforce is made up of different technical and operational employees based around the UK working from smaller offices and substations, or based at home.
What's the problem?
National Grid have employees of all ages, ranging from some aged 60+, who have enjoyed long careers, to those who have recently joined the company via their range of apprenticeship, graduate, or other hire programmes.
National Grid wants to recruit and retain the best talent for their workforce – and among that talent there needs to be a strong supply of skilled engineers and technical expertise. Engineers are currently sought after in the UK, but are also in short supply – so the competition to attract them is fierce. It’s more important than ever for the organisation to stand out to prospective (and current) talent for all the right reasons.
As strong advocates for employee engagement, the benefits package offered by National Grid has to tick a lot of boxes. Not only does it have to be competitive, and accessible to all employees, including the field-force and remote workers, but it has to appeal to a wide demographic.
We’re looking for something that is easy and accessible for all employees to understand and use. The products must appeal to employees and add value to their employee experience. How successful this is will show in the take-up rates; if the take up is good it’ll show the benefit is relevant for people and therefore engaging them.
What we did
When we engaged with National Grid, they already had a flexible benefits programme, with a range of benefits from a few providers – but they were looking to extend their offering. They decided that introducing discounts to their benefits programme would create a new kind of benefit not currently available for employees. We’ve now been the shopping discount provider for National Grid for six years. By using our successful discount and benefits platform, and reworking it as ‘YouShop’ to fit in with the National Grid branding, we could not only compliment all the other benefits but also give them something extra-special through its capacity to offer shopping discounts and savings.
With the platform up and running, reaching people and promoting engagement was super important, as many employees are based offsite. So we created a brochure which was delivered directly to home addresses. The brochure gave details of the offers available and information of where employees could access the website.
The Sodexo team partner with National Grid to keep the offers fresh and relevant – there is even a local offers section – so if someone knows of a local business who wants to give a discount we can add these to the platform. Plus, there is a dedicated YouShop customer service team to answer any queries, and we manage all of the back- office administration.
Working With Sodexo
Choosing to avoid email communications because of the nature of their organisation, we have helped National Grid reach their employees in other engaging ways. We regularly send posters and let them know about special upcoming and seasonal offers – we also attend roadshows and are on-hand to promote the platform whenever and wherever we can.
Working together has helped National Grid to continue to reach and engage their staff through their benefits programme. It has also challenged us to think of different means to approach a workforce without the ‘traditional’ digital communications route.
The popularity of YouShop at National Grid is very strong, and the take-up and significant savings show that this is a really valued benefit of National Grid employees. There is an overall take-up statistic of 77%, resulting in a spend of approximately £114,000 per month and employee savings of £8,500 per month. Taking the travel area for instance, in January 2017, employees spent £35,268 and made savings of £2,692.
It works well as there is a core set of employees using YouShop regularly. Employees use the whole range of discounts; some people use it just for the weekly shop, but then some people buy luxury items, like holidays etc. When we meet our Sodexo Account Manager face-to-face, we talk through the latest range of statistics, one of which tells us about the monthly uptake. The statistics show how much the discounts have saved our employees, which is great for us to see.